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Rota: Cello Concertos (Sony)

AMADEUS, January 2012

Edoardo Tomaselli

In the booklet presenting this CD, Giovanni Gavazzeni quotes a phrase that Mario Soldati dedicated to Nino Rota’s music, which seems to perfectly fit the mood of the Italian composer’s Cello Concerto No. 1: «The hidden tragic meaning, the constant feeling that death will come, which is however without weight, but, on the other hand, lends melodies (moving, perfect, enclosed in their mysteriously happy melancholy) lightness and ineffable elegance…». Recorded to celebrate one hundred years after Rota’s birth, this CD performed by Silvia Chiesa is a successful homage to the Italian composer’s wide not cinematographic work. While still living, he was for many critics (at least, for the most summary of them) a complicated enigma to solve, because he intentionally dedicated himself both to cultured and to movie music. We can find an example of his versatility in the first of the two concerts here recorded - both of them coming from his last working period - which admirably succeeds in blending that tragic meaning with extraordinary lightness. The second concert is equally well-made; composing that, Rota borrows from Mozart the beginning of the first theme of Violin Concerto No. 3 K 216. Finally, if the Cello Concerto No. 1 seems to be veiled by a cosy melancholy, the Cello Concerto No. 2 has a more powerful and virtuoso charm, reminding us what Fellini said about Rota’s motifs: «They are surrounded by enchanting poetic sensitivity, highly elegant, permeated by the inspired spontaneity which characterizes all things concerning Nino…»